Former Nabisco Fleet Manager, Industry Leader Feirer Dies
A. Warren Feirer, retired Nabisco Brands Inc.’s fleet manager, former NAFA president, and 2014 Automotive Fleet Hall of Fame nominee, died on June 24. He was 83.
During his tenure as Nabisco’s fleet manager, he oversaw a fleet of 5,000 automobiles and 1,700 delivery trucks, and was fleet manager during Nabisco's acquisition by RJR.
Prior to the Nabisco's decision to convert to leasing, Feirer managed the annual purchase of approximately 1,600 automobiles and 200 trucks. He was a key member of parent company RJR/Nabisco's task force on leasing evaluation and, subsequently, coordinated the implementation of a new lease program for RJR/Nabisco, involving more than 9,000 vehicles. In conjunction with these efforts, Feirer administered the development and installation of a computer program designed to monitor Nabisco’s fleet acquisitions and disposals. Through these developments, Feirer reduced annual new automobile costs at Nabisco by more than $800,000.
His responsibilities at Nabisco included negotiating with vehicle manufacturers, coordinating leasing programs with lessors, developing and managing all national account programs, and developing and recommending vehicle policies to Nabisco Brands’ divisions to achieve consistency and uniformity. He also adapted a program designed to utilize minority- and women-owned vendors.
“Warren was the consummate fleet manager and all-round great guy,” said Mike Antich, editor of Automotive Fleet. “Warren had an easy-going manner about himself. It was an honor to have known him as a friend, industry colleague, and all-round subject-matter expert who was always available to share his wealth of industry knowledge.”
Feirer was a long-time member of the NAFA Fleet Management Association, most notably serving as NAFA president from 1979 to 1981, which coincided with the oil embargo of 1979, precipitated by the Iranian Revolution. Feirer was given the charge to lead through a landscape of high fuel prices, long lines at fueling stations, staggered schedules, and vehicles that were only beginning to roll out necessary efficiency adaptations.
In response to the crisis, NAFA pledged support for a nationwide “Energy Efficiency” campaign and, in recognition, Feirer accepted an award on behalf of NAFA from President Jimmy Carter for NAFA's efforts in planning fuel conservation during the height of the 1970s fuel crisis. Also during Feirer’s term as NAFA president, the first Fleet Manager’s Manual, a complete manual on automotive fleet management, was published.
Feirer’s involvement with NAFA began at the local level, serving as chairman of NAFA's New York Chapter from 1969 through 1971, and was conference chairman for the 1974 New York conference. In addition to serving as NAFA’s president, he also had terms as third, second, and first vice president of the association, as well as trustee. He was also a past president of the NAFA Foundation and recipient of NAFA's Distinguished Service Award. Feirer was later a trustee in both the NAFA Foundation and the NAFA Employees' Pension Plan.
"Warren was a true friend and colleague. We spent a lot of time together sharing our fleet activities for many years together,” recalled Ray Breault of Fleet Response. “Warren was the kind of individual that was always there when you needed support and ideas. I remember how vocal and supportive Warren was at NAFA Board meetings always coming up with suggestions to simplify and support the association that he was so very proud to be part of, always concerned regarding its growth and direction. He was a true friend to all who had the pleasure and opportunity to know him. He will be missed by many of us old timers."
Born in Weehawken, N.J., Feirer served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was actively involved in numerous community activities in his hometown of Leonia, N.J., including serving as the scoutmaster of Troop 71, Council president of Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, president of the Leonia Community Chest, and was a Lifetime Honorary member of The Leonia Players Guild, for which he designed stage sets for the Guild’s plays.
Feirer maintained his ties with his former fleet friends and colleagues as a member of the ROMEOs (Retired Old Men Eating Out), which included the late Gerald “Gerry” Keenan, and other retired fleet managers such as Al Cavalli and Ray Breault. They met several times a year for trips to auto museums, fairs, and auto shows.
"Warren has been a dear friend for over 40 years. We, in a sense, ‘grew up’ in NAFA and fleet management together,” said Al Cavalli, retired fleet manager of Universal CIT and a founding member and past president of NAFA. "He contributed much to NAFA's development, growth & educational programs. We both were ROMEOS (Retired Old Men Eating Out) along with Ray Breault, Don Rittenhouse, and Gerry Keenan. A group that went on trips related to automotive subjects or just to have dinner reminiscing about the old days. He will be sorely missed by his many friends. My deep sympathy goes out to his widow, Doris."
Feirer is survived by his wife Doris, two children, six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
The family will hold a memorial service at Leonia Presbyterian Church at 12:30 pm, Saturday, July 18. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Feirer’s memory to:The Leonia Players Guild, P.O. Box 131, Leonia, NJ 07605.